In a new report the Government Accountability Office found that the Justice Department and other federal agencies are unable to determine how much they spend on defending Freedom of Information Act lawsuits. The watchdog agency found that of the 112 FOIA lawsuits decided between 2009 and 2012 in which the requester prevailed, agencies were able to calculate costs for only half, and estimated $1.4 million in costs. The GAO—which conducted the investigation in response to a request from Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) of the Senate Judiciary Committee—urged Congress to explore the possibility of requiring agencies to track FOIA litigation costs. EPIC routinely litigates FOIA cases against federal agencies, and is currently fighting to obtain secret Inspector General reports surveillance oversight reports, and details on the government’s largest-ever phone surveillance program.
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